Protest Demonstration at Raipur Against Murderous Attack On Ramesh Agrawal, RTI & Environment Activist
Raipur, July 12, 2012
About 500 workers and peasants, women and youth drawn from some 16 people’s organizations, trade unions, political parties, NGOs and human rights organizations staged a one-day dharna at Budha Talab, Raipur on 12th July, 2012, strongly condemning the murderous attach on Mr. Ramesh Agrawal, RTI & Environment Activist of Raigarh in Chhattisgarh.
On 7th July 2012, two assailants fired on Sri Ramesh Agrawal in his shop at Raigarh. One bullet pierced his left thigh. Presently he is struggling between life and death in Narayanan Hospital at Raipur.
It is not only known to the Chhattisgarh Government, Central Government but is an established fact that Sri Ramesh Agrawal has been struggling against the might of the mining, coal-based power projects and JINDAL of Industries in Chhattisgarh; that too through legal and peaceful means within the broader framework of the Constitution of India. Sri Ramesh Agrawal was specifically exposing the great ecological damage done for years by these projects and industrial groups through gross violation of laws of the land, and in utter disregard to the environmental and industrial policies of the country.
Last year he was arrested on false and fabricated criminal charges during the Public Hearing on Environment about the 2400 Mega Watts Power Project of JINDAL GROUP OF INDUSTRIES. Being a heart-patient, Mr. Ramesh Agrawal was hospitalized during detention, but hand-cuffed and tied to the Hospital bed in gross violation of human rights standards and the Supreme Court guidelines in this regard. Later, he was granted Bail by the Supreme Court. Even today he is facing all these false and fabricated criminal cases. In spite of all forms of
harassment, Mr. Ramesh Agrawal continues with his peaceful struggles on the illegalities in the mining and power projects, which poses a threat to these companies and industrial groups. It is obvious that the murderous attack on his life is linked with his committed campaign against environmental degradation and gross violation of national policies by these big projects and industrial groups.
The day-long Dharna was addressed by Com Janak Lal Thakur, President, Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha & Former MLA, Adv Gautam Bandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha, Sri Keyur Bhooshan, Former MP & Convenor, Gandhi Vichar Manch, Sri Raghuveer Pradhan, Ekta Parishad, Chhattisgarh, Sri Jayant Bohidar, President, Lok Sangharsh Morcha, Raigarh, Sri Shashi Kant Sharma , Convenor, Anyay Mukti Morcha, Raigarh, Sri Laillan Kumar Sahu, Chhattisgarh Mines Shramik Sangh, Dalli-Rajhara, Ms. Meena Verma, Ekta Parishad & Secretary, CG Mahila Manch, Adv Rajendra K Sail, Chhattisgarh Labour Institute & Former President, CG PUCL,Sri Bisat Chandrakar , Jagruk Nagrik Manch, Sri Radhey Shyam Sharma, Loktantrik Samjawadi Party, Com Basant Sahu, Com S K Singh, Com Bisheylal, Com Sheikh Ansar, Com Meghdas Vaishnav – all from Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha.
Later a Memorandum was submitted to the Governor of Chhattisgarh through Ms. Poonam Sharma, Sub-divisional Magistrate, Raipur, with very specific demands that
- A Fair & Independent Judicial Enquiry be made in the matter of murderous attack on Mr. Ramesh Agrawal headed by a person presently not holding any office of benefit in the State or Central Government;
- Keeping in view the collapse of law-and-order in the State, strict action be taken by suspending the Superintendent of Police, Station House Officer of the concerned police station, and the Collector of Raigarh district, and during the pendency of the Enquiry these officials be removed far away from the District of Raigarh;
- A high level enquiry be conducted by Commission headed by a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or the High Court on the anti-democratic, anti-constitutional and criminal activities of the Industrial Mafia, Forest Mafia, Mining Mafia, Liqour Mafia, Land Mafia, etc., not only in Raigarh district but the entire state of Chhattisgarh as it is posing a grave threat to democracy. The report and recommendations of this Commission be made public so that the truth may come out in the open, and action be taken accordingly on the culprits;
- Mr. Ramesh Agrawal’s be provided adequate and appropriate medical treatment by referring him to the All India Medical Association of India, New Delhi, and the State Government must bear all the expenses in this regard;
- All false and fabricated cases against Mr. Ramesh Agrawal be withdrawn forthwith and he be released honourable from such false charges;
- Similarly, all such false and fabricated cases against all social workers, human rights defenders and trade union activists be investigated by a high level independent committee and withdrawn accordingly;
- It is the constitutional duty of the State Government to provide protection to the individuals and organizations fighting for justice and human rights. Thus, the State Government must create a special cell for this purpose which should take up concrete and effective measures in this regard.
The protest demonstrators were disappointed that in spite of prior request, the officials responsible did not arrange a meeting with the Governor of Chhattisgarh. However, it was decided that a Team led by Com Janak Lal Thakur (President, CMM) and Sri Keyur Bhooshan (Former MP) would try to meet the Governor the next day, and apprise him of the deep concern and anger of the protesting organizations and individuals.
Some people later met Mr. Ramesh Agrawal at the Naraynan Hospital, Raipur, expressed solidarity wishing him speedy recovery, and also gave him a copy of the Memorandum submitted to the Governor of Chhattisgarh.